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UK Election Open Thread

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Apparently the United Kingdom is having an election today. Monarchy ain’t what it used to be. Polls close at 10pm local, which is 5pm Eastern. Here’s the Guardian; here’s the BBC. Let this serve as an open thread.

THRILLING UPDATE (djw):

Exit polls not looking good for May:

An exit poll projects that Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party will win the biggest share of seats in Britain’s election but could fall short of a majority in Parliament.

The survey predicts the Conservatives will get 314 seats and the Labour Party 266.

It projects 34 for the Scottish National Party and 14 for the Liberal Democrats.

If this holds up, is there any precedent in the history of politics for a major political party committing two blunders as epic as Cameron’s referendum and May’s snap election in such rapid succession?

[BUMPED]

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  • COnrad

    I got all excited for Dave Brockingotn when I saw this:

    Portsmouth South
    Lab win Portsmouth South with a 21.5% swing, 64% turnout

    Then I realised he lives in Plymouth…

    • Philip

      Labor just took Plymouth, I believe

      • COnrad

        With a 6,000 majority no less.

      • Yes! Go David!

      • Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, yes. Plymouth Moor View still to come. The latter was a point or so more conservative last time around.

        • And, damn, Tories held Plymouth Moor View with a pretty decent margin now.

  • nemdam

    As a non-UK resident, I have a question that I’m confused by. A lot of commentary is saying how well tonight is for Labour and Corbyn and how this vindicates their strategy. But, uh, they still lost, right? I understand Labour climbed out of a big polling deficit, but what good is that if you still come up short at about the same place you were last election? And the commentary I’m reading says how horrible of a campaign Theresa May ran. So am I right in understanding that the conventional wisdom is that Labour lost an election against a bad candidate but this is somehow shows how good they did?

    I concede I may have this wrong, but can’t it both be true that Theresa May embarrassed herself by losing seats when she was expected to gain but also that Labour failed by being unable to take advantage of a big opportunity? It seems to me like everyone lost tonight.

    • Corbyn is benefiting from lowered expectations for sure.

      May called a snap election. This usually only happens when the govt is pretty damn sure of a victory so it’d be surprising in any case if they did poorly. Given what Corbyn’s polls have been like since 2015, the current result is surprising.

      We not in the same place if the exit poll holds up. Lacking a majority, even a slender one is a big blow and weakens her govt. it’s a bit like losing the super majority in senate.

      But…you’re not wrong overall.

    • Murc

      A lot of commentary is saying how well tonight is for Labour and Corbyn and how this vindicates their strategy. But, uh, they still lost, right?

      Yes. Those two things can be true at the same time.

      I understand Labour climbed out of a big polling deficit, but what good is that if you still come up short at about the same place you were last election?

      It means you’re considerably less weak than everyone thought you were, and you’re capable of running a competent, effective general election campaign when that fact was very, very dubious. Those are good things.

      And the commentary I’m reading says how horrible of a campaign Theresa May ran. So am I right in understanding that the conventional wisdom is that Labour lost an election against a bad candidate but this is somehow shows how good they did?

      Yes. This is precisely right and also true.

      but also that Labour failed by being unable to take advantage of a big opportunity?

      The snap election was not, I repeat, NOT a big opportunity. At all. In any way, shape, or form. It was an enormous crisis and threat, possibly even a Thatcher-level existential one, for the Labour Party. Navigating that skillfully and not only surviving, but proving you’re still a contender, has to be counted as a good result.

      • Good points but it’s still a loss.

        I mean we’re on to be back at around the 2010 result. When Brown was running.

        Now the “we woudda done better” analysis can be run several ways with very little data to settle it. I’m definitely relieved that Labour survived and happy that the Tories are wounded, but it’s not a victory. And the path to victory isn’t entirely clear.

        • Philip

          It does seem at the very least like it establishes that the actual British left exists and has to be reckoned with, right? Whatever you think of Corbyn, the Blairites ain’t coming back now.

          • Maybe?

            If it’s all on youth and we can’t sustain the turnout then not really? If this is our ceiling then yes we are a force to be reckoned with but we need to reckon as well.

            If by Blairites you mean centrists…they’re not gone!

        • nemdam

          I’m definitely relieved that Labour survived and happy that the Tories are wounded, but it’s not a victory. And the path to victory isn’t entirely clear.

          Right, this is ultimately what I don’t understand. The Left is excited that they did better than expected. But they still lost against what they consider a weak candidate. If you can’t win against a weak candidate, what’s the path to victory? I get feeling relieved that they avoided a blowout, but if you prove you can’t actually win an election, then how much power does the left actually have? My understanding of UK politics is very limited, so I concede my analysis may be way off, but isn’t this the exact reason Tony Blair moved Labour toward the center?

          If I just stepped on a keg of dynamite with my last question, feel free to avoid it.

          • econoclast

            People are optimistic because Labour’s fortunes turned around when they released their platform, which was to the left of previous platforms. When the voters were worried that Corbyn was too far left, it turns out that “too far left” means “communist”, and not “left of Tony Blair”.

            It’s a big change in the narrative, since both Brown and Miliband were accused of being too far left.

          • efc

            “But they still lost against what they consider a weak candidate.”

            No, she wasn’t considered a “weak candidate”. She called a snap election because she (and her party and the media and a lot of Labour people) thought she was a very strong candidate in a strong position and would crush Labour into dust.

            • Pre election, she was considered a very strong candidate. But even then, it was “She’s competent; Corbyn’s robustly not and seen as such; calling the election is a bit a of a flip flop but she’s got it”

              She’s been considered a shocking weak candidate from at least two weeks in. Avoiding debates, crap manifesto roll out, flipping on politically disasterous polices within 24 hours, robotic performances, etc. People have been calling this the worst Tory campaign in decades.

              Contrariwise, Corbyn started off a bit weak (remember the press was not his friend; but also his initial numbers were bad; but also there was some typical fumbling at the beginning which given the surprise looks much more respectable that it did at the time…since it didn’t predict the rest of his campaign). Then he pulled together a strong and reasonably popular manifesto which was both rather left wing AND technocratically respectable enough that it was hard to tag as bonkers (though the right win rags tried) and he was very solid to quite good in his campaigning.

              But the consensus assessment even before the loss was that she was quite bad this campaign at every level.

      • nemdam

        The snap election was not, I repeat, NOT a big opportunity. At all. In any way, shape, or form. It was an enormous crisis and threat, possibly even a Thatcher-level existential one, for the Labour Party. Navigating that skillfully and not only surviving, but proving you’re still a contender, has to be counted as a good result.

        OK, this makes sense. But I guess looking at the big picture, I don’t see how a party that celebrates that it avoided a catastrophe is in good shape. I know it’s not totally analogous, but I can never imagine being happy that a Democratic candidate only lost by 3% instead of 10%. A loss by any margin means you have no chance of implementing your agenda which is the whole point of an election.

        • We gain influence over the agenda. Which is better than not having it.

          The 2015 gpvt is widely regarded as genuinely worse than the 2010 one. Having a clear majority made a difference.

        • I’ll go stronger…it’s a victory against the Tory manifesto. They have a fragile power, but they are going to struggle with everything, including Brexit. They will likely need to be more soft brexit open.

          Furthermore this is a battle, not the war. It remains to be seen how long this government can last. It’s MUCH more fragile than Cameron’s coalition.

    • Peter T

      We had a similar result here in Australia – conservatives went to election, Labor ran a strong campaign, just fell short. Since then the conservative government has shifted leftwards on policy in several areas, and abandoned a number of right projects.

      So losing strongly does count – it shifts the window. Expect the next Tory leader be significantly more cautious.

      • blackbox

        Since then the conservative government has shifted leftwards on policy in several areas, and abandoned a number of right projects

        This is such an utterly unfathomable thing at this point in time for US politics, it actually makes me jealous of Australia residents. And that is not something I ever thought I would say.

    • wengler

      For us in non-Parliamentary systems, the idea of a prime minister calling an election at a time of perceived strength and then struggling to form a government after that election seems like a colossal failure. Especially when Corbyn has been presented as a terrorist-loving Leninist that secretly loves Brexit.

  • rickstersherpa

    One of the big stories tonight is Scotland. May & the Tories appear to have been rescued from defeat by what appears to have been a Conservative resurgence in rural Scotland & a decline in the SNP vote, but not to the benefit of Labour. It will be interesting to see the explanation for that. Yes, it appears that Corbyn won’t have enough seats to form a Government, but considering six weeks ago the Guardian was wondering if Labour would lose so badly that the SNP would be the opposition, not bad, not bad at all. Theresa May is dead woman walking as the Tory long knives come out.

    • Murc

      I know some hardcore Scottish nationalists who are gonna be PISSED. They’ve been talking for weeks about how this election meant that Sturgeon was finally gonna do it, gonna have another referendum.

      That seems… unlikely now.

    • Gwen

      I was chatting all night on a Facebook group for anglophiles.

      Although there is a hung parliament, I think the smart money is on continued Tory government for a few months at least.

      Someone joked that Scotland is now forcing a Tory government on England.

      • Gwen

        Speaking of Scottish Conservatives forcing themselves, did anyone else see that odd exchange between David Dimbleby and Ruth Davidson, where Dimbleby made some comment about her “luster” and suggested she should be the national Conservative leader.

        • FOARP

          “did anyone else see that odd exchange between David Dimbleby and Ruth Davidson, where Dimbleby made some comment about her “luster” and suggested she should be the national Conservative leader”

          This one’s been long-running. She connects well with voters and is quite popular – lots of people have been suggesting she runs for leadr, though this would require a Westminster seat first. She’s also a moderate. I’d vote for her.

          • Gwen

            The way Dimbleby brought it up was cringe-worthy though, it seemed vaguely like an old man commenting on a younger woman’s appearance.

            I think that is what he meant, it just sort of sounded that way, and Ruth Davidson looked uncomfortable at the question. To be sure, it implied “should we fire your boss and make you her replacement?” which is uncomfortable enough.

  • shah8

    I do feel very smug, with respect to certain commentators, right now.

    • I think every thread I recall you participating in, you’ve pretty much only ever started off by reveling cryptically in your own smugness.

      • shah8

        Am I not validated?

        And if you think I’m just so damned cryptic…

        I’ll just say it here:

        Far, far, far, too many people here have no damned respect for basic professionalism. Or the basic job of being a politician, which means cobbling together a working majority, from bottoms up.

        Which means catering to the needs and wants of people you don’t like. Which means making grand promises that would be hard to fulfil. Which means all sort of acts, skullduggery, and fraternizing with frenemies in between.

        Because people hated Corbyn, they regularly pretended that he was an absolute incompetent. That he was utterly hated, and behind the times. That he was an anti-semite or terrorism sympathizer. That he was cowardly, shiftless, and lazy on Brexit. Some or all of these might be true to some degree or others, but when you look at their general behavior in comments, they’re just pretty damned illiberal about anyone not them having a say in how the country is run. And not very interested in building anything or anyone to replace Corbyn. That’d mean they’d have to actually politic!

      • shah8

        And I generally don’t have the time to participate with big comments anymore, and I often do not want to deal with other people’s willful idiocy at this point. Other times, it’s not proper to be frank, or it is dangerous in some way to be frank.

        So yeah, use a few more of those little grey cells mon frere.

    • jpgray

      I always supported Corbyn here and thought, while not perfect, he was far less terrible than described. I also thought his leadership victories represented a bellwether rejection of robot PR-lab simulacra and their watery sorta-austerity mumblings, and that this aspect to his appeal was constantly being missed.

      The androids were well-programmed to win the past, to capture the hearts of a confident country that wanted nothing too much, not a morbidly insecure country desperately trying to feel something, anything, and blearily voting for unpredictable volcanic upheavals in pursuit of that. How softest-Left droids seemed strategic in those circumstances, to anyone, I will never understand.

      I don’t, however, feel smug. By the numbers, Corbyn was terrible – TERRIBLE – until he wasn’t. By any usual measure, Labour under Corbyn was headed for epochal disaster.

      So every time Bijan or EliHawk or sibusisodan said essentially “You’re weird and wrong and judging this on feelings,” they were as right as any measure could determine rightness.

      And after all, Corbyn lost! But he lost splendidly, getting a massive share of the vote that, by earlier measures, should have been utterly impossible for him to achieve.

      • econoclast

        Austerity won, unfortunately. A big part of why the Labour manifesto worked is that they explained how they would pay for everything.

        • jpgray

          It isn’t ideal that everything must be paid for to a point, but there can be massive differences in that “everything” between parties – what it means, its to whoms and for whats and hows.

          On that score, what Labour offered can’t help but represent a massive break from current orthodoxy, no?

      • sibusisodan

        I should probably add here that I’m very happy to have been wrong and will essentially be crowing about my wrongness for a while.

        I am 0 for 4 in election predictions since 2015. Make of that what you will!

  • wengler

    I have to say hahahaha and haha and also hahaha.

    Our IRA terrorist Leninist actually embarrassed ‘strength and stability’ Cruella. The Tories bought their own bullshit.

  • Ash

    So May stays in – for now. Will the Wooden Lady (for she’s certainly not iron) break at last?

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